It is the year 2166. Eighty years have passed since the Gene Wars devastated the Earth, decimating the human population and giving rise to myriad new life-forms. Only planetwide rule by an oligarchy of once-human brains in permanent computer interface has allowed "pure" humans to survive. Now, among the dolphins of Australia, Jenae Kim stumbles on the information that could mean a new beginning for human civilization: information that the government is determined to keep secret--even if they have to kill her.
On the edge of the solar system, researcher Daire Morales falls through an interstellar gate and discovers an Edenic world to which refugee children from the Gene Wars escaped long ago--but at a terrible price. The onset of adulthood promises a monstrous fate, and now the colony's adolescent leader, Tsering, faces her own violent demise. Only when Jenae exposes the long-buried truth about the Gene Wars does Tsering realize that the memories trapped in the planet's strange, sentient trees have the power to save--or destroy--not only the colony but the hope of humaniy itself.
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Sullivan's impressively sophisticated first novel takes us to a disturbing twenty-second-century Earth still recovering from the environmental ravages of a global Gene War. The few human survivors who aren't mutants live in sterile reservations governed by a league of computer-linked, disembodied brains known as the Heads. Besides working to restore as much terrestrial environment as possible, the Heads' best hope for Earth's citizens rests with four stargates discovered on the Underkohling, a mysterious celestial object at the edge of the solar system. Sullivan's story line skillfully intertwines the fates of Jenae, a mutant telepath whose psychic bond with intelligent dolphins gives the Heads a means of stabilizing the stargates, and Daire Morales, a scientist whose accidental passage through one of the stargates lands him on a mysterious planet populated by the descendants of the Gene War's most notorious criminals. Complex, suspenseful, filled with intriguing hard sf ideas, Lethe is an auspicious debut. Carl Hays
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